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Business talks on line

A GROUP of Northbridge business people has called for greater consultation in relation to the sinking of the railway line and the City Planning Scheme Number 2 (CPS2).

At a public meeting organised by the Northbridge Business and Community Association last week a motion was passed that called on the councillors of the City of Perth to address both the CPS2 and the sinking of the rail line.

“This meeting calls on the councillors of the City of Perth to resolve not to endorse for final approval and refer to the minister of town planning scheme 2 until the Northbridge community has been consulted,” the motion says.

Professor Martyn Webb urged stakeholders in Northbridge to push the Government to em-brace a sinking of the rail line. It was an opportunity that would enable the city to realise the potential of the land on top, including the Perth Entertainment Centre, owned by Channel Seven, he said.

“We have to keep up pressure and show the Government there’s widespread support for the sinking of the railway line,” City of Perth councillor Vincent Tan said.

“There’s one main clause in TPS2 that’s going to mean every new building in Northbridge will have to have the front height of the building half the height of the [width of] the road in front.

“The rest of the city has four times what’s allowed in North-bridge and we believe this will discourage investment.”

If the railway is sunk between Perth and Northbridge it will create a land bridge totalling about 13 hectares, according to Professor Webb.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to do something serious,” Professor Webb said.

“We’ve demonstrated in Subiaco that you can move a station, and I think everybody would agree that Subiaco has been an extraordinary success.

“It’s too important to be left to railway engineers.”

There were several local property industry players at the meeting, including Michael Hale and Limnios Property Group’s Atha and James Limnios.

Atha Limnios said the land above the railway, if developed properly, would be worth up to $1,000/sq m. Last week the State Government announced it had assembled the City Rail Development Committee to oversee the construction of the underground link form the Narrows Bridge to the northern suburbs line.

The committee will be chaired by Stuart Hicks and includes the City of Perth Lord Mayor, Dr Peter Nattrass, and Councillor Lisa Scaffidi.

Channel Seven’s proposal for the redevelopment the Entertainment Centre land has prompted calls for a master plan for the total area between the city and Northbridge.

It’s understood the Government is not interested in creating a statutory body to oversee the development of the area, as was the case in Subiaco and East Perth.

The major development opportunity posed by this land affects the city’s CPS2 and stakeholders in Northbridge are calling for a review of the guidelines relating to building height and plot ratios.

City Vision chairman Ken Adam said the repercussions of re-uniting Northbridge and the city needed to be reflected in the TPS2.

“If we are thinking of re-unifying the city the sharp interface between the city and Northbridge [plot ratios] will look silly, he said.

This could lead to a situation where a high-rise building abutted the lower scale development allowed in Northbridge, Mr Adam said.

“Most of us who care about the future of Northbridge care about its scale and the diversity and vitality of it,” he said.

“It’s really important to achieve consistent values.

“I’m not sure if Northbridge will develop with much higher buildings because I’m not sure the economic drivers are there for much higher plot ratios.”

Property consultant Michael Hale said the key for landowners in the area was the reduction of the capacity of the site.

The CPS2 limited the bonus plot ratio to 20 per cent, Mr Hale said.

“It’s a reduction of plot ratio by stealth,” he said.

“If the property owner goes to a valuer, the plot ratio of the land is taken into consideration.

“This represents a real shift in the value of the land.”

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